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The Analects of Confucius by Confucius

The Analects of Confucius (edition 1989)

by Confucius

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Title:The Analects of Confucius
Info:Vintage (1989), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:nonfiction, collection, translation, chinese, philosophy

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The Analects of Confucius by Confucius



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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
In his Teaching Company course on the Analects of Confucius, Dr. Robert Andre LaFleur says he recommends that his students read six different translations. I just complete my second—this book. I can definitely say that reading more than one translation (and listening to Dr. LaFleur’s excellent course) will give you a better understanding of Confucius; however, I must make a couple of immediate observations:

- While some passages become clearer, the varying translations of the same passage differ so much in some cases that it is hard to tell up from down!
- Reading multiple translations reinforces just how pasted together much of the Analects are. Oddball passages that clearly don’t belong creep in, but even after hundreds of years, we must still deal with them.

I first read one of the long-time standard translations, by D.C. Lau. It had an excellent introduction and was easy to get through. In contrast to this Simon Leys version, however, it clearly lacked literary style. I’m sure it’s partly because the material is more familiar, but there is also no doubt that Leys’ translation reads better. Whether it is more accurate is another question. Leys provides detailed notes about how he arrived at his translations, and he clearly identifies where he differs from other translations. In a review by Jonathan Spence when this book was first published, however, Spence (whom I have great respect for) does take issue with some of Leys’ interpretations. Given the ambiguity of classical Chinese to begin with, the corruption of the text over 2500 years, and the changing meaning of Chinese characters from generation to generation, I’m not sure anyone can ever say which translation is correct. Leys clearly has a bit of an agenda here, however. He is (was, actually, since he passed away in 2016) a conservative Roman Catholic, and his religious prejudices creep into some of his translations and are quite prominent in a few of his notes. For instance, he clearly equates homosexual families with a degeneration in society. His religious bias also shows through when he quotes another writer as saying how reading the four gospels clearly shows a single intelligence behind the writing, and he asserts the same is true of reading Confucius. In the case of the Bible, this is pure nonsense. The gospels contradict each other even more than the Analects, and like the Analects, they were written long after the death of their subject.

Leys also takes an inexplicable potshot at Pinyin romanization compared to Wade-Giles. By understanding a few simple rules, anyone can read Pinyin and come up with reasonable Mandarin Chinese pronunciation, whereas Wade-Giles doesn’t even come close! This just seems to be the author’s prejudice, since his Chinese studies started a long, long time ago.

Nevertheless, as I read through this book, I have to give the author credit for his learning and his use of quotations from a host of authors to support or elucidate the points he wants to make about Confucius. A quotation from C.S. Lewis about the difference between readers and non-readers, for instance, is brilliant. Leys also makes the Analects easier to understand by using a single name for each of Confucius’ disciples rather than the multiple formal or personal names that appear in the original text. For a Chinese scholar reading this, it may be a problem, but for the normal intelligent English-language reader, it is a boon.

Leys presents the translations unadorned by any notes, which appear in a separate section. The main text doesn’t even indicate which of the sayings have further notes. Many of them don’t if they are self-explanatory. You can certainly read through the Analects without even referring to the notes, since Leys’ translation is so clear. However, part of me does wish the notes were provided on the same page so I didn’t have to keep two bookmarks in place and flip back and forth. Given that this is a small, lightweight paperback, however, that wasn’t too much trouble.

So, overall I can truly recommend this book as an easy-to-follow, rewarding translation for someone trying to develop a deeper understanding of the Confucian worldview. I can also second the recommendation to read more than one translation. ( )
  datrappert | Jan 24, 2019 |
I found this to be the best of Confucius' books that I have come across so far. It was the most interesting and palatable and I felt there was knowledge and wisdom to be gained from it. I would recommend it to those interested in philosophy. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 17, 2018 |
1164/1500 ( )
  Drfreddy94 | Jul 17, 2018 |
After reading this book and "The Sayings of Confucius" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8705589-the-sayings-of-confucius This one has some good qualities but overall is less useful.

I like the translations here more. They flow a bit better.

With that said "The sayings of confucius" goes into more details about the world that he lived in and the cultural history associated with his works. So you may want to read it at the same time as this book.

As far as structure. I like the original chinese in the book I just really would prefer it if didn't occur mid-sentence. It really breaks up the flow because it makes it look like a sentence break every time.
( )
  Heather.Dennis | Nov 29, 2017 |
This was my first proper reading of Confucius. Again, the ancients set the tone for so many things that followed. Given that Confucius lived during the 6th century BCE, I am not surprised to read familiar words that have somehow crept into modern language but without sufficient acknowledgement of the original source. There are many surprising similarities with Stoicism, and, dare I say, Christianity. While reading the Stoics, I was conscious of the need to avoid the Occidentalist assumptions, hence my choice to read Confucius now. This work has encouraged me to read The Book of Odes, Shi-King to lift the veil of my ignorance in this important area - religion, spirituality, ethics, morals, philosophy, call it what you will. It is regrettable that I do not have enough life remaining to study all the things I wish to learn. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Confuciusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Allan, SarahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ames, Roger T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blackerby, RicIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bock, KlausEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bojun, YangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowman, John S.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, A. Taekosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cai, Jack J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castellani, Albertosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chung, Chih Tsaisecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Citati, Pietrosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clay, RichardDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crofts, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dawson, RaymondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferreira, Múcio PorphyrioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fick-Lugten, W.A.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giles, LionelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gou Chengyi 勾承益secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grayling, A. C.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guanjie, Xinsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haštaba, Z.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henrikson, AlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinton, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hsiao ChaoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kallio, JyrkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koskikallio, ToivoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lévy, AndréAuteursecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lau, D. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Legge, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leys, SimonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Li, David H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippiello, T.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyall, Leonard A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marks, SaulDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masi, Edoardasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäll, Linnartsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McPharlin, Paulsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morehead, LouEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moritz, RalfHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelikan, JaroslavEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radice, BettyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosemont, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ryckmans, Pierresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shi Yanbo 石延博secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slingerland, Edward G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soothill, William EdwardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waley, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ware, James R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watson, BurtonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilhelm, Richardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkinson, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, RobertForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yang, Bojunsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yü, LunEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yu, EmmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yu-ho, TsengIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeng, Youhesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zhao MengjianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Despite his immense importance in the Chinese tradition, little that is certain is known about Confucius. (Introduction)
1. The Master said, 'Is it not a pleasure, having learned something, to try it out at due intervals? Is it not a joy to have friends come from afar? Is it not gentlemanly not to take offense when others fail to appreciate your abilities?'
The Master said: "To learn, and then, in its due season, put what you have learned into practice—isn't that still a great pleasure?" (Hinton translation)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140443487, Paperback)

‘The Master said, “If a man sets his heart on benevolence, he will be free from evil”’

The Analects are a collection of Confucius’s sayings brought together by his pupils shortly after his death in 497 BC. Together they express a philosophy, or a moral code, by which Confucius, one of the most humane thinkers of all time, believed everyone should live. Upholding the ideals of wisdom, self-knowledge, courage and love of one’s fellow man, he argued that the pursuit of virtue should be every individual’s supreme goal. And, while following the Way, or the truth, might not result in immediate or material gain, Confucius showed that it could nevertheless bring its own powerful and lasting spiritual rewards.

This edition contains a detailed introduction exploring the concepts of the original work, a bibliography and glossary and appendices on Confucius himself, The Analects and the disciples who compiled them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:21 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Confucius' teachings, preserved by his students, consist of aphorisms and parables that illustrate his views on morality.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Columbia University Press

3 editions of this book were published by Columbia University Press.

Editions: 9622019803, 0231104308, 0231141645

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